This week I did an unorthodox track workout. I needed to be at the Pathways workout again this week instead of the track, but decided I would go early and get my speed work in before the scheduled run. The only problem is there is no track at the Fleet Feet store. What is there is a very long, straight and flat street that used to be an airport runway, So, with my trusty Garmin GPS watch as a guide, I figured out 600 meters distance (the track workout was a bunch of 600 meters sprints) and simply ran up and down the street until the workout was done.
Since it was a straight-away instead of a curved track I had the wind directly in my face for three of the 600m runs and directly at my back for the other two. I was almost a minute per mile slower heading into the wind, which was about 25 mph. The time difference in the stats below shows the effect wind can have on a runner.In addition, the temperature was 90º+. That meant the wind wasn’t really cooling me down much, just pushing up against me.
The idea behind speed work is two-fold. One, to get faster, (obviously). There is a common running mantra, “If you want to get faster, you have to run faster.” Simple, but true.
The other reason is something called VO2max, short for maximum volume of oxygen. That is how much oxygen your lungs can take in. During long distance running you are at about 60-70% of lung capacity. When you do speed work, if you are doing it right, your lung capacity is closer to 90-95% of capacity.
Why is this important? Think of it this way. You have a plastic cup you can pour water in. But it is a flexible cup, it can get bigger or smaller. If you always fill it up to 60-70% of its total volume, it won’t get bigger because it doesn’t need to. But if you fill it up to near capacity again and again it does gets bigger. How does that help you run long distances? Because your 60-70% capacity that you use for those long distances is now 60-70% of a BIGGER cup. That means you are getting more oxygen into your lungs and thus energy to your muscles. The result, better endurance at a higher pace.
I also increased my miles this week. This week I ran 5 times. Four of them were 4+ miles each and Saturday’s run was 10 miles for a total of 28 miles. My goal is to run 30-40 miles per week. I am getting there. The Achilles I had surgery on still is a bit stiff and sore after a long run so I am trying to move up mileage slow enough to allow the tendon to respond effectively.
Fork in the Road
Oh, and aside from all the goals and stats, I managed to coach some fun people this week. And yes, we did. We found a fork in the road (actually on the sidewalk) and we didn’t take it.
See you running,